Reporters on the Job

When in Afghanistan...Staff photographer Andy Nelson and writer Mark Sappenfield have adopted local garb to lower their profile in Afghanistan.

But after the UN told its employees in Kabul to stay indoors Friday during a demonstration in support of amnesty for warlords (see story), the two thought twice about going out. "We consulted with our Afghan interpreter and decided we'd go and get a sense of the crowd in the stadium. If it seemed that there might be violence, we would leave," says Andy.

He notes that wearing a pukhol hat and a scarf from the Panjshir valley didn't fool anyone up close ("plus I was carrying two large cameras," he says), but from a distance it helped.

The reaction from demonstrators in the stadium was primarily of respect. "Most Afghans seemed to appreciate it. They said, 'Wow, you've made yourself into an Afghan.' "

When asked his nationality, Andy wasn't waving an American flag. "Well, I'm Swedish-American. So I said my family is from Sweden. What I didn't say is that they arrived in the US in the 1860s."

David Clark Scott
World editor

This Week's Look Ahead

Monday, Feb. 26:
– Jurors begin deliberations in the trial of seven alleged Al Qaeda-linked terrorists who plotted attacks on Britain's electricity network and a shopping mall.
The Hague – The International Court of Justice will deliver a ruling in Bosnia's genocide and aggression lawsuit against Serbia and Montenegro.

Tuesday, Feb. 27:
Kaesong, North Korea – South Korea and North Korea resume Cabinet-level talks.

Wednesday, Feb. 28:
Juba, Sudan – The Ugandan government and rebel Lord's Resistance Army are scheduled to resume peace talks.

Sources: Reuters, The Associated Press

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